The judge rules that Colorado cities cannot enact their own gun restrictions, and the case can move to the state Supreme Court

A judge said Boulder has been prevented from enforcing its two-year ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines in the city – which could provide the state Supreme Court with an opportunity to review whether state cities could set their own restrictions on gun ownership. .

Boulder County Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled on March 12 that the city cannot enforce its ban because under state law, local governments cannot prohibit the possession or sale of firearms.

“These provisions are null and enforceable,” Hartmann said. “The court decided that only Colorado law (or federal law) can prohibit the possession, sale, and transfer of offensive weapons and large capacity magazines.”

Boulder spokeswoman Shannon Olabaugh said the city attorney said there are plans to meet with an outside counsel this week to decide how to proceed and whether the decision will be appealed.

She said the Boulder Police Department would not enforce the law unless there was a subsequent court ruling reversing Hartman’s decision.

If the case does reach the Colorado Supreme Court, it will be the first time that judges have considered whether local governments in the state are allowed to enact gun laws that are more restrictive than those in state laws.

In 2018, Boulder City Council issued two decrees banning the possession of offensive weapons and large capacity magazines, after a mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people.

The Boulder assault weapons ban includes some semi-automatic pistols and rifles with a pistol grip, foldable or telescopic stock, or protruding grips that allow the firearms to be attached with the unopened hand. The city defined the large-capacity magazines as “any ammunition feeder capable of accepting more than 10 shots.”

The decree specified violations punishable by up to $ 1,000 and up to 90 days in prison.
Several people said that the decree violates a 2003 state law that states that “a local government may not enact a decree, regulation, or other law prohibiting the sale, purchase, or possession of a firearm that anyone can legally sell, buy, or possess under a state. Or federal law. “

City attorneys argued that Boulder had the right to pass the law as it was necessary due to a lack of rules regarding assault weapons and large capacity magazines statewide.

The judge disagreed, citing a list of weapons that Colorado considered illegal or dangerous.

The attorney for the plaintiffs who challenged the Boulder Guns Act did not respond to requests for comment.


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